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Jane Peterson

Artist Statement


Jennie Christine Peterson, known as Jane, was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1876 into a Norwegian family. She started to draw at a young age and took art classes through her local public school district. When Jane was 17 years old, she traveled 40 miles to Chicago to attend the Columbian Exhibition of 1893. At the Exhibition Jane was introduced to the artwork of many avant-garde Impressionist artists including Mary Cassett and Mary Fairchild MacMonnies. She also learned of the Pratt Institute in New York City as a viable educational institution. Jane took an aptitude test and applied to Pratt. Later that year she moved to New York to attend school with the stated plan to acquire the skills necessary to earn a living as an artist. While there she had the privilege to study under Dow and to exchange ideas with peers such as Agnes Pelton and Max Weber.

After graduating Jane worked in various positions: an art supervisor in a public school district; instructor at Maryland Schools of Art and Design; and instructor at Pratt Institute. She began to travel and to paint extensively. Jane loved to capture the differences between the lives of others and her own life to interpret the world for other Americans. When Jane was 50 years old she married a wealthy lawyer and moved to New York City. He built a roof top studio for her where she painted “floral portraits” until her death in 1965.

Jane is primarily known for her still lifes and her landscapes that were painted with broad strokes and vibrant colors. Jane held over 80 one-woman exhibitions during her life. Her work is held in various prestigious collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Hirshhorn Museum, Pennsylvania Academic of Fine Arts, The Bennett Collection of Women Realists and others.